Don Young

NOTE:  Don Young is a 1963 graduate of Aurora High School
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A Hundred Next Years

This is a blog about the Chicago Cubs written by a guy who walks around with a 1970 Don Kessinger card in his briefcase. That pretty much says it all.

Triggering a Don Young flashback

Carlos Zambrano’s dugout tantrum at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday afternoon was sickening for most Cub fans to watch, and it was prominent in the baseball headlines yesterday and today. Still, it’s not like the Chicago Cubs don’t have a history with this sort of thing.

On July 8, 1969—yes, that 1969—the Cubs squandered a 3-1, ninth-inning lead at Shea Stadium and lost to the Mets 4-3.

From George Langford’s game story in the Chicago Tribune:

Ron Santo, the Cubs’ team captain, would not mask his disgust at losing to what he considered a lineup that was much inferior to the Cubs, nor could he hide his anger at teammate Don Young, who dropped one fly ball and misjudged another in the decisive ninth inning.

Langford’s story didn’t quote Santo directly. Rather, he wrote that “Santo’s comments about Young weren’t particularly kind ones…”

By mid-afternoon the next day, however, Santo had realized that he was wrong to have lambasted Young in front of the writers, and he called an “impromptu press conference in his room on the 10th floor of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.”

The subject was Don Young, the Cubs’ rookie center fielder… Santo wanted to make a public apology for remarks made about Young.

“‘Don and I sat down for an hour today and talked. I apologized to him then and I want to make a public apology now for what I said. I’m going to also call a team meeting tonight and give him a personal apology before the team,” Santo said as he sat on the edge of his bed.

"I was upset. There had been a lot of pressure before the game from newsmen, radio, and television and then we lost the game the way we did and when I saw Donnie walking out of the lockerroom five minutes after the game was over, I just lost my head. 

"I grabbed him. I said I felt he’d put his head down between his legs in the ninth inning because of his hitting. [Young had struck out twice and popped up twice]. I said I thought he was upset about his hitting and forgot we had a 3 to 1 lead and that he went on the field in the ninth inning thinking about himself and not about the team," Santo continued.

"I was wrong. I said it because it happened to me when I was on a losing ball club. I fought myself so hard at the plate that when I went to the field I forgot about fielding and I caused the team to lose ball games. I was thinking about myself. I thought the same thing that happened to me and happened to Donnie but it really didn’t.

Assuming Carlos Zambrano gets around to apologizing to his teammates, as Lou Piniella said he expects, will he even come close to replicating the heartfelt tone of Santo’s apology to Young? Hard to say.

do know, however, that it was funny, given his history in this regard, to hear Santo commenting on tonight’s national Fox broadcast about Zambrano’s outburst at fellow Cubs. “There’s no call for that,” Santo said.

27 June 2010

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